Newt Gingrich is a fan. So’s Michele Bachmann. Mike Huckabee’s such a booster that he recently said that all Americans should be “forced at gunpoint” to listen to this guy.
The object of this high praise from Huckabee—and recent shout-outs from other potential GOP presidential contenders—is David Barton, a Republican activist and minister who founded WallBuilders, a for-profit evangelical outfit that works to inject religion into politics. Barton holds some pretty unconventional views, and in the past he has spoken alongside fringe figures like Holocaust deniers and white supremacists. Among other things, he claims that Jesus would oppose the capital gains tax and the minimum wage; that global warming is “self-correcting”; and that the nation’s homeland security apparatus has been infiltrated by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. He also contends that the separation of church and state is a perversion of the Founding Fathers’ intention to create a Christian nation.
Barton promotes the idea of a “stolen legacy”: that the Christian history that birthed the United States and nurtured its national consciousness has been deliberately obscured by liberals. America’s religious history, according to Barton, has been covered up through a concerted movement to deny the facts. It’s a “a very powerful, validating force for people in the religious Right…’We are the real inheritors of this nation,'” Boston says.
For years, Barton’s most extreme arguments—like how science always confirms the word of the Bible (explaining why global warming and embryonic stem cell research are hokum) or how the story of the Tower of Babel proves that God hates socialism—were confined to Christian talk shows and his national speaking circuit. In 2009, the Christian Broadcasting Network hosted Barton for a two-week, 10-part special on the program Gospel Truth with Andrew Wommack to explain why Christians should control every aspect of American society. He spent some time laying out God’s case against socialism: “Bureaucracy treats everybody like they’re a brick. And that’s the problem with socialism, is you’re a brick, when you need to be a living stone that’s unique, like a snowflake, like a DNA cell, like an iris in an eye; every one of them is different. And that’s what got God ticked off.” This is typical Barton: encoding a conventional conservative talking point in evangispeak, distorting the Bible to justify the Republican Party’s agenda.